France is devastated by a new case of police violence on film, in the midst of a debate on a controversial bill criminalizing the malicious dissemination of images shot during police interventions.
The scandal came after the Loopsider website posted images showing three police officers beating up a black music producer on Saturday in the entrance to a music studio in Paris.
On the video surveillance images of this studio, published Thursday, we see the three police officers entering the studio by grabbing Michel Zecler, then hitting him with fists, kicks or batons.
According to these same images, the producer resists by refusing to let himself be carried away, then tries to protect his face and body. The scene lasts five minutes.
The police then try to force the door open and throw a tear gas canister inside the studio.
People who have to protect me attack me (…), I did nothing to deserve this, he told reporters.
I just want these three people to be punished by law.
"Without these images" …
Another example of the need to be able to film the police.#GlobalSecurityLaw https://t.co/Y3C3V1rax8
– Yanik Dumont Baron (@Ydb) November 26, 2020
Videos that contradict the police version
After the arrest, Mr. Zecler was initially taken into police custody as part of an investigation into
violence against a person holding public authority and
According to their report consulted by AFP, the police said they had arrested him for failing to wear a mask.
As we try to intercept him, he forcibly pulls us into the building, they wrote.
The Paris public prosecutor's office finally closed the first investigation opened against Mr. Zecler and opened new proceedings against the police for
violence by people holding public authority and
false in public writing.
The music producer has also lodged a complaint with the Paris headquarters of the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN).
Three policemen have since been suspended, followed by a fourth, the one who arrived as reinforcement and is suspected of having thrown a tear gas canister into the music studio.
The four officials were placed in police custody at the beginning of the afternoon in the premises of the IGPN.
If we didn't have the videos my client might be in jail right now, summed up to AFP his lawyer, Me Hafida El Ali.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, sponsor of the controversial comprehensive security bill, has since claimed that police have
soiled the uniform of the Republic and he would ask
The Loopsider site also released on Friday a second video of the police intervention on Saturday, which shows that Mr. Zecler was also beaten in the street by the police.
Images that make us ashamed, protests Macron
Interested in this affair, the French president said on Friday that it is a
images that make us ashamed, the president asked the government to him
quickly make proposals to fight more effectively against all forms of discrimination.
France must never allow hatred or racism to flourish.
Those who enforce the law must obey the law. I will never accept that the gratuitous violence of a few taints the professionalism of women and men who, on a daily basis, courageously ensure our protection., insisted the president.
Emmanuel Macron was
very shocked by the video of the assault, the Elysee said on Friday.
The president received his Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin on Thursday and asked him to pronounce very clear sanctions against the police, we have also learned from a government source.
It was after this meeting that the Minister of the Interior announced Thursday evening on France 2 that he was asking for the dismissal of the four police officers.
Police violence in the 17th district: We are broadcasting a new video taken by a neighbor of Michel. It shows a policeman beating the victim in front of all his colleagues while he is immobilized on the ground pic.twitter.com/5HCbAIl8xs
– David Perrotin (@davidperrotin) November 27, 2020
Section 24 of the Comprehensive Security Bill will be rewritten
Prime Minister Jean Castex also announced Thursday evening the creation of a
independent commission responsible for proposing a new writing of Article 24 of the Comprehensive Security Bill.
This article prohibits the dissemination of
facial image or any other identifying element members of the security forces in intervention, when she wears
physical or mental integrity.
Any offender, whether a citizen or a journalist, would be liable to one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros (CA $ 70,000), according to the version adopted Tuesday by the National Assembly, but not yet considered by the Senate.
Praised by the police unions, the bill is supported by the right and the extreme right, but decried by the left and the defenders of public freedoms, who see it
a disproportionate infringement the freedom to inform and the sign of an authoritarian drift of the presidency of Emmanuel Macron.
The case, which erupted Thursday, comes in addition to several other recent ones involving the police, including the brutal evacuation, at the beginning of the week, of a migrant camp installed on the Place de la République.
To read and see also:
- Indignation in France after the violent dismantling of a migrant camp
- The “global security” bill is debated